Quantification of GST and esterase activities in pyrethrin-resistant mosquitoes using pyrethroid-like fluorescent substrates

Shizuo G. Kamita, Steve Mulligan, Anthony J. Cornel, Bruce D. Hammock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Botanical pyrethrins and synthetic pyrethroids are highly potent and environmentally safe insecticides that are used to control a wide range of disease vector and pest arthropods. Unfortunately, resistance to these insecticides has been demonstrated in numerous medically important mosquito species. In this study, adult Culex pipiens sensu lato were captured in agricultural and urban locations in Fresno County, California, and subsequently exposed to a commercial formulation of pyrethrin insecticide by ultra-low-volume spraying. Following insecticide exposure, two pyrethroid-like, fluorescent substrates (4-methyl-2-oxo-2H-chromen-6-yl, cis-3-(2,2-dichlorovinyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclopropanecarboxylate (cis-DCVC) and 4-methyl-2-oxo-2H-chromen-6-yl, cis-3-((Z)-2-chloro-3,3,3-trifluoroprop-1-enyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclopropanecarboxylate (cis-TFMCVC)) and 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene (CDNB) were used to measure esterase and glutathione S-transferase (GST) activities in surviving mosquitoes. Elevated esterase activity (2.5-fold) was found in surviving urban mosquitoes at 12-h post-pyrethrin exposure (in comparison to non-insecticide-exposed control mosquitoes) when cis-TFMCVC was used as a substrate. Additionally, when CDNB was used as a substrate, 2.8-fold higher GST activity was found. A simple assay was established using our pyrethroid-like, fluorescent substrates that was able to detect low-level esterase activities in homogenates made from individual mosquitoes. The cis-TFMCVC-based assay suggested that esterase activity plays a role in pyrethrin resistance in urban mosquitoes in California.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-283
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Pest Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Culex
  • esterase
  • fluorescent substrate
  • GST
  • Pyrethrin resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Insect Science


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